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Brian Aliffi

Caribou Roastmaster since 2005
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Espresso's knockin' at the door

Posted by Brian Aliffi

October 05, 2010 14:14 PM

Espresso was something of a gateway for me into specialty coffee, albeit coated in milk and chocolate and heavy whipped cream. Moving to Seattle in '91, I was overwhelmed by the choices dotting the landscape with espresso drinks available everywhere from the movie theater to Burger King TM. It would be awhile before I began appreciating its finer qualities as enjoyed without accessories and still longer before I grasped what makes a good, or even great, shot.

Given our drive to source and roast the best coffee in the world it was inevitable that we would turn our gaze toward the blend of coffees that form the basis for what is our most popularly consumed blend. We had a couple of goals in mind with improving consistency as the biggest. Our espresso had been a 5 coffee blend for many years. The challenge with such complexity lies with the volume made. Using only 14-15 grams of coffee, about half an ounce, and getting the proper distribution of each coffee in the blend within that amount is a challenging prospect. The result is unpredictability;I'm sure a lively discussion on chaos theory would be wholly appropriate here. Suffice to say it's tough to have every shot of a 5 component blend turn out exactly the same, time after time.

Enter another of our goals, Rainforest Alliance Certification TM. It's possible you've heard our intent to have all of the coffees we source be 100% certified by year's end, 2011. Targeting qualities that would feature nicely in this new blend and working with our producing partners to bring in the best, certified coffees available, we created a full-bodied, creamy espresso shot with lingering tart plum and caramel-creme finish. Also 100% certified. Also reliably repeatable. 3 coffees, a Brazil for body, a Salvador for sweetness and a Guatemala for acidity, the sum is truly greater than the parts.

I drink espresso as regularly as health allows and I encourage you to check ours out. Blends great into a latte, smooth and sweet solo, helps ensure the future of the producers and the planet. Hard to imagine a more perfect coffee. But we won't be afraid to try, and hopefully, succeed. But not for us, for you. Ok, maybe us, a little.

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Nate Hrobak

Caribou Roastmaster since 2003
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Brian Aliffi

Caribou Roastmaster since 2005
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Brett Struwe

Caribou Roastmaster since 1995
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